The Woman's Warrior: Clary Sage

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In order to complete my French Aromatherapy certification course, like all aromatherapy certification courses, I had to do a research project. After deep contemplation, I decided to do an in-depth profile on Clary Sage. Why? Because I didn’t like the oil. I’m being serious. I found the smell pungent and even though I used it in blends for others, I never used it for myself.


But I KNEW that this was an oil worth loving, especially if you are a woman. So I put on my big girl pants and decided that I was going to sit down with Clary Sage and become friends with her. Because I am a woman and she is the woman’s warrior.


I could really geek out on all of you and talk about the chemistry of this oil and what makes it unique. But this is a blog post. I try to make it simple. I’ll save the nerdiness for my aromatherapy magazine writing. I’ll just give you the basic low down on my new friend, Clary Sage.


Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) is a middle note that is distilled from the flowering tops and leaves of a beautiful biennial from the Salvia genus. It has a very unique and complex aroma. It has been called sweet, earthy, herbaceous, fruity, and woodsy all rolled into one. All I know is that I called it “bleh” for the longest time. Yet I find Tea Tree appealing. Call me crazy.


The basic therapeutic actions of Clary Sage are:

·      Anti-inflammatory

·      Analgesic

·      Anti-spasmodic

·      Central Nervous System sedative

·      Anti-depressant


Its general therapeutic uses are:

·      Gas digestive pains, especially due to stress; when you feel “sick to your stomach” over something

·      Menstrual cramps- as discussed in this study.

·      Respiratory support- helps with chest spasms or spastic cough

·      Muscle Pain- especially due to inflammation

·      Anti-acne formulations

·      The hydrosol is great for hot flashes

·      Aphrodisiac– (Trust me, I get asked what oils are good for this A LOT!)

·      Contractions during labor

·      PMS moodiness


Its energetic qualities are:

·      Uplifting- studies have shown Clary Sage to have anti-depressant effects

·      Relaxing

·      Opens your creativity

·      Encourage you to dream, while being realistic

·      Causes you to be introspective- great for meditation


Clary Sage has no known toxicity issues. The exception being that many aromatherapists do not recommend this during pregnancy (with the exception of labor) due to the claim that it can bring on menstrual bleeding and contract the uterus. Yet on, this statement is made:  

According to Wildwood, A common myth in aromatherapy is that massage oils containing essential oils such as Clary sage, rose or even rosemary can cause a miscarriage and hence should be avoided throughout pregnancy. Authors such as Ron Guba, Kurt Schnaubelt, and Chrissie Wildwood have all pointed out that there have been ‘no recorded cases of miscarriage or birth defect resulting from aromatherapy massage using therapeutic applications of any essential oil.”


NAHA no longer has Clary Sage on its "oils to avoid" list. BUT, I would advise you not to use Clary Sage while pregnant, especially if you are high risk, because honestly, it isn’t worth risking. I would work with a qualified aromatherapist to make sure you are using oils safely during your pregnancy.The beauty of aromatherapy is that there are MANY options out there. Just because one oil is contraindicated, doesn’t mean you won’t find another oil that works just as well. An aromatherapist can help you do just that. 


So, after a little heart and heart with Miss Salvia sclarea, plus some time and a lot of research, I have come to the conclusion that she can be a woman’s best friend due to her affinity to the female reproductive system. She is unique, powerful for the mind and body, and can even smell nice once you get to know her better.  So to my newest friend, Clary Sage, I’ll say to you that I will keep using you “because you’re worth it”.